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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Business in Brief

Industry Grows 6.1%

MOSCOW (Reuters) -- Industrial output rose by 6.1 percent in 2004, down from 7 percent in the previous year, Economic Development and Trade Minister German Gref said Friday, confirming a newspaper leak of the figure.

Vedomosti earlier quoted sources in the State Statistics Service as saying industrial output grew by 4.8 percent in December from a year earlier, providing new evidence of a gathering economic slowdown.

RusAl Bids in Balkans

PODGORICA, Serbia-Montenegro (AP) -- Russian Aluminum, or RusAl, was the only bidder for a 64.5 percent stake in Montenegro's largest aluminum producer, KAP, the government said.

A government commission will review the offer by RusAl, which belongs to aluminum baron Oleg Deripaska, before making a decision. Details of RusAl's offer were not made public.

KAP makes up half of Montenegro's industrial production and 80 percent of the Balkan republic's exports.

Polish Oil Concerns

WARSAW (Reuters) -- Polish President Aleksander Kwasniewski said Friday he would discuss the stability of oil supplies to the country's largest refiner, PKN Orlen, with his President Vladimir Putin.

Yukos on Thursday suspended some crude export contracts after its main production assets were seized to pay tax debt. PKN said later that contingency plans meant there was no threat to continuity of crude supplies.

"Orlen has asked me to raise this subject in talks with Putin in the next few days, so that's what we'll do," Kwasniewski told a news conference. Putin is scheduled to visit Poland next week.

"But I don't see any reason for panic -- in the end the Russians have oil and they have to sell it because they need money, and we need it and want to buy it," he added.

VTB-Deutsche Pact

MOSCOW (Reuters) -- Russia's second-biggest bank, Vneshtorgbank, or VTB, and Germany's Deutsche Bank have signed a deal for a credit line to finance 85 percent of Russian imports from OECD states, VTB said on Friday.

VTB said in a statement the deal covered imports of industrial goods and equipment under guarantees issued by export credit insurers of the respective countries. Loans are extended for 10 years.

Canadian Gold Woes

VANCOUVER (Reuters) -- Canadian miner Kinross Gold said Friday it was putting a gold project in Russia on ice because of a tax dispute with the government, but that it was not abandoning its operations as reported.

The world's No. 7 gold producer said it won't invest money in developing a new gold vein at its Kubaka mine in Magadan in the Far East but that it was still mining the nearby Birkachan pit and processing stockpiles at Kubaka.

Kommersant quoted sources in Magadan's local administration as saying Kinross had sent a letter to regional authorities saying it wanted to quit mining in the area due to an "unfavorable investment climate."

Gazprom Drills by BP

MOSCOW (Bloomberg) -- Gazprom, the world's largest natural gas producer, will drill two exploration wells at gas fields in eastern Siberia that border deposits held by BP's Russian venture, TNK-BP, as part of its effort to compete in Asia.

Gazprom plans to start work in April, under its five-year exploration license for the Yuzhno-Kovykta acreage, said Anatoly Golovin, the general director for the company's Siberian exploration unit. The area may hold about 100 billion cubic meters of natural gas, a fifth of Europe's annual consumption. "We may know the results from the wells by the end of the year," Golovin said.